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I don't even know what buttons I pushed to get here.

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Man. I feel like I'm painting him in a bad light now, because he's honestly such a good guy. We'd just get into really weird discussions sometimes though, because when we agreed, we'd really agree, but when we disagreed, we were like oil and water. I kind of wish I recorded some of them. They'd be fun to go back and listen to.

Wants to go back to the gold standard and is a strong advocate for flat tax.

Fuck! Dude. Same guy I've had the flouridated water argument with too. :)

How long has this Net Neutrality argument been going? Five years? Ten? I remember, way back when, getting into an argument with one of my friends about Net Neutrality and censorship. They were convinced that Net Neutrality allowed internet providers to censor what you see on the internet and I was running in circles trying to explain to them that it's the exact opposite. The headline to this post creates a weird deja vu.

    Please stop tracking my literal every keystroke on the internet, please.

Apple and Facebook do the same. Google already does. This is just an extra product they give you to encourage you to continue giving them the data they already collect.

Who do you think it's a good deal for? The companies? The workers? The suppliers? The customers?

    Depends on your definition of "dick".

Each society kind of has their own definitions on what they consider acceptable and unacceptable. This includes hard laws, both secular and religious, as well as less strict but still important mores and folkways.

    There seems to be no natural, objective line whereupon crossing which you'd be considered universally evil.

Well, there are certainly lines that people cross sooner or later that cause people to categorize them as “bad.” How do you feel about the idea though, that the lines are blurry and seem to move about?

    That's a good way to think of it. The problem, I believe, is how religions portray our flawedness.

I think you’re touching at the edges of how and why religions explain suffering and bad behavior and how we go about addressing it as people. Different religions have different explanations. To me, personally, I think the focus often seems negative just because the original questions, such as “Why do we suffer” and “Why do people do bad things,” have a negative connotation to begin with.

    I feel like the difference between psychology and religion is that psychology acknowledges and teaches us to be better.

The goal of psychology is to understand why people behave the way they do as individuals. The goal of psychiatry is to help us be healthy in regards to our psychological health. Many religions similarly encourage us to be strong, rightful people, both to ourselves and to others. This encouragement is found in many forms, from theology to parables to lectures to even prayer. I honestly think that one of the main roles of religion is to form social cohesion and it’s kind of difficult to have that if you don’t do your best to encourage people to be good to each other.

    It doesn't seem possible for religion to turn this aspect of itself around any time soon, if at all: there's too much baggage. I'm even going to say that there's too much trash: holding onto old, antiquated ideas, making no apology for the things the church as an entity made or allowed to be (as Stephen Fry so eloquently put) and continuing preaching the same old story that existed for millenia where the rest of the world has made moral, psychological and otherwise scientific discoveries about ourselves and other people.

Religion, our relationship with it, it’s relationship with us, and its relationship to the world is constantly evolving. It’s not a static thing in the slightest. Theology as we know and understand it today is different than theology as we know and understand it five hundred years ago and the further we go back in time, the further it changes. Look at Christianity, how old it is, yet people still look towards it to find inspiration to making the world a better place.

    I don't religion is up for the task as it is. Not with the constant news of how the church hides and protects their child abusers from justice. Not with the way priests drive expensive cars when their believes advice them to abstain from excessive luxury.

You’re convoluting things. It’s important to understand how things work together, but it’s also important to segment things and see them individualistically. There are many bad actors in the religious world. But there are many bad actors in the world period. Because individuals or institutions have a religious base, it doesn’t mean religion is necessarily to blame for their behavior. Let me ask you this, if tomorrow war broke out between Russia and America, would you blame me because I’m an American? Would you blame my constitution? Would you blame my military? Would you blame my government? Would it be some of those mixed together with some blame layed more on some than others? How would you want me to answer those questions in reverse?

    At the very least, I believe a fundamental restructuring would be required. At that point, it would be almost easier to simply invent something new.

Here’s a whole list of something new. You’ll have everything from stuff that expands on more traditional religions, such as The Abrahamic Faiths and Hinduism, to Neo-Paganism, to UFO cults. Some of that stuff is pretty mundane. Some of that stuff is pretty out there. Some of that stuff could be downright scary.

If you check it out, you'll actually see the Baha'i Faith is on there. Want an open confession? Sometimes I wonder about trying to be a good Baha'i, because it is new, because the early days of The Faith did have a rough past, and because I worry that there's actually a bit of truth to the argument that the number of adherents a particular faith has lends to its legitimacy. This stuff isn't easy to figure out, many religious people go through periods of intense doubt, and there's a good chance many of us have things all wrong. In a way, that's okay, because that's part of life, that's part of being human, and the important thing we take away from all of this is that it's important to try and be good people, to ourselves and to each other.

rd95  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 19, 2017


Baby Driver. Go see it. It's seriously amazing for a popcorn flick.


I love them. They all drive me crazy though. There's almost zero peace and quiet in this house and I'm always amazed and frustrated to find that one of my roommates always seems to start vacuuming or engaging in various other loud activities as soon as I'm nodding off for a nap.


Dala is bringing me falafels tonight from this Greek place. I'm excited. I fucking love falafels.

Often, I think the desire to build monuments is less about pleasing any dieties (though I'd like to hope they appreciate the effort and enthusiasm on our part) and more about our desire to create, period. There are beautiful buildings and projects all over the world, both religious and mundane, spanning hundreds and thousands of years of our history. The religious buildings just happen to be a form of religious art, and if with buildings, if you can go big, you're often tempted to.

At the same time, some of these buildings are often big partially by necessity, because many of them are more than just places to worship. They're also administrative buildings, schools, hospitals, community centers, what have you.

    I'm a firm believer that expressions of positive emotions in our daily lives is among the strongest ways to worship God.

I agree.

I hate air conditioning. It's the most annoying thing ever. It's loud. It makes the house rattle. Cold, uncomfortable air is blowing in. Whatever happened to getting a popsicle out of the freezer, putting on shorts and a t-shirt, and hanging down in the basement to watch TV where it's naturally 5-10 degrees colder than it is upstairs.

There's some things that can be appreciated about the more ornamental religious buildings. They're aesthetically pleasing and often rich in cultural history. Sometimes though, I think they can be too much, especially if for one reason or another they're becoming financial burdens. There's a lot of give and take though, cause on one hand money could be better spent in other ways but on the other hand, people might see a value in the buildings that extend beyond finances. Which then brings up the whole idea of materialism and detachment and the question of how much might that apply to places people consider literally and truly sacred?

One of the really interesting things that I've noticed, at least here in my part of The States, is that people are getting creative in where they're holding church. I've seen everything from coffee shops being rented out every Sunday morning to buildings like old barns, restaurants, and even bars being bought up and converted to Churches. As for Baha'is, some larger cities will have Baha'i centers, but for many smaller communities, feasts, devotions, and holy days are just held in someone's living room. It's kind of nice.

That said, I've been inside some awesome buildings and it's a shame to think of any of them falling into disrepair.

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